Miners Union Hall

Miners' Hall c.1910 (Museum #1-268)

  

Miners Hall 2012

STATEMENT OF SIGNIFICANCE

DESCRIPTION OF HISTORIC PLACE

Rossland Miners Union Hall, located on a sloped lot at the west end of Columbia Avenue in Rossland, BC, is a large, steeply gabled brown and tan wood-frame building with an upper storey balcony. It bears the date "1898", and the words "Miners Union" and "Miners Union Hall" on its front facade.

HERITAGE VALUE

Rossland Miners Union Hall is valued as a monument to the Rossland Miners Union No. 38 local of the Western Federation of Miners, the first metalliferous mines union local in BC, and one of the most influential and successful unions in the history of the province. Built in 1898, this historic place was the central organization point for the Miners Union, whose fight for just and safe labour conditions at the end of the nineteenth-century led to the legislation of the eight-hour work day, amended the Trade Union Act, and paved the way for the union movement in British Columbia and Canada. 

Rossland Miners Union Hall is an important part of British Columbia's heritage because it is a symbolic icon of the province's early mining industry. Having survived a series of major fires in the town's history, this historic place is one of BC's earliest surviving miners' union halls, and is one of the few extant wooden buildings of this era, stature, and use in the province. It is valued as a touchstone to the mining heyday of the late 1890s, which initiated the development of infrastructure, transportation, and permanent settlements in this part of the Kootenay-Boundary region of BC. 

Designed by architect E.J. Weston, and incorporating a variety of spaces such as a lodge room, dancing room, and a small stage, it is significant that the Rossland Miners Union Hall continues to function in its intended multi-purpose community capacity. Historically the hub of the community, this historic place has retained a respected level of social value for over one hundred years, a fact which warranted its provincially-sponsored restoration and rehabilitation in the late 1970s, and maintained its status as a social centre and rallying point in the community. 

Source: BC Heritage Branch properties files

CHARACTER-DEFINING ELEMENTS

The character-defining elements of the Rossland Miners Union Hall include: 
- Its location within the City of Rossland, on the south side of the western end of Columbia Avenue 
- Its situation on a sloped lot and its relationship to Columbia Avenue 
- Its appearance of having two storeys at street level while actually being three storeys tall 
- The identification of the place as a miners union hall, as seen in such elements as exterior lettering, and interior spaces originally intended for use by the union. 
- Surviving elements of its 1898 multi-purpose design by architect Weston, such as interior spaces, configurations, and finishes, and exterior elements such as the upper-storey balcony, and spare decorative elements 
- The ongoing multi-purpose use of the hall for dances, theatrical productions, film screening, social gatherings, meetings etc. 
- Elements of the place which pertain to its restoration in the late 1970s, including restored exterior and interior fixtures, fittings, and finishes, interior spatial configurations, and exterior modifications